The Celtics hold on in Orlando tonight to beat the Magic 116-110 in OT. Looked like the Celts would continue their stellar play from Friday night early, but a nightmare 3rd quarter where Boston’s defense vanished and Orlando shot the lights out made this a nail biter.
The Green: Rondo came out of the gate on a mission. He had 4 assists in the first 4 minutes of the game, 9 at halftime, and finished with 16 to go w/15 pts & 9 boards. Leandro Barbosa was huge in the first-half. Before getting into foul trouble, he notched 11 points in 4 minutes, including 2 from downtown. He tallied 15 on the night. Offensively, the usual suspects, Truth and KG combined for 47 points and notched big shots down the stretch. Brandon Bass struggled a bit, going 5 of 14 from the floor, but he had 12 boards, 5 of them offensive and a few huge rebounds late in the 4th and OT to keep the C’s in the game. Have to also mention Sully. He continues to shine off the bench. His 6 boards tonight were all on the O glass, and he also chipped in 11 points.
The Gross: Celtics came out snoozing in the 3rd quarter. Missing assignments on D, leaving shooters like Redick wide-open and turning the ball over. Before a quick timeout by Doc at the 10:56 mark, the C’s opened the quarter with 3 straight turnovers. It only got worse from there. Jameer Nelson’s 12 3rd Q points propelled Orlando to win the quarter 34-22, and take the lead, 82-80 heading into the 4th. A very frustrating 12 minutes to watch for C’s fans. Sloppy, lazy basketball. Jeff Green was a shell of what we saw in the OKC game. He struggled mightily, going 0 of 9 for 1 point in 20 minutes.
This was a game that the C’s should have won easily, but a combination of poor execution, lackluster defense and Orlando’s 13-0 run in the 3rd (and the fact that they just couldn’t freaking miss) made this a grind out affair for Boston. But hey, a win is a win. Right?
The Grid: (quick stats)
KG recorded his 800th career double-double. (h/t to KG Taught Me)
C’s had 60 points in the paint and held Orlando to 34. Probably helped that Orlando shot nothing but 3’s it seemed for the entire 2nd half.
Rondo tied John Stockton for 2nd all-time with 37 straight games of 10 assists or more.
Celtics had 17 offensive rebounds, of which Jared Sullinger grabbed 6. That’s their 3rd highest total in 3 years.
Some of you were asking on Twitter if Pierce tweaked his knee in the 4th. Fortunately, he did not. Unfortunately, Jameer Nelson crossed him over pretty badly.
Celtics now get 2 days off before facing the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 7:30pm EST.